Thoughts Before Pascha

In my last post, I talked about how I wanted to focus more on prayer and charity for Lent. Did I ever get my wish. This Lent has been a particularly roller coaster time. Sorrows Lent began this year with the news that one of my cousins had successfully made a harrowing escape from Ukraine where he had been teaching English, and was safe, for the moment, in Poland. The whole family breathed a collective sigh of relief and offered various prayers of thanksgiving. Only a few days later, his mother died, and we were taken from the highs of…

Lenten Thoughts

Here it is again, looming over us like a giant behemoth. Great Lent. Every year I see memes and cartoons about Lent sneaking up on us almost as if to intentionally spoil our joy. And to be honest, some days it does feel like that. But the longer I am Orthodox, the more I appreciate what Lent both teaches us and allows us to do, namely take the focus off of self. As much as I appreciate Lent, I do find myself filled with anxiety. What will I eat? Will my son participate with me now that he’s a teenager?…

Finding the Holy When Humbled

When you’re a single parent, you often get used to the idea of having to do everything yourself. You become a paragon of the rugged individualist with a do-it-yourself mentality. A lot can be said for that lifestyle, especially when it’s lived within a like-minded community. The trick to living that lifestyle, though, is knowing when you can do it yourself, and when to ask for help. Too often, single parents forget that second step. I know I am especially guilty of forgetting. For some of us it’s a matter of pride. For others, we don’t want to be a…

Theme: Worries About Our Children’s Safety

The worries we carry for our children are almost too numerous to count. Time with the other parent I watch as their car drives off. My child waves madly out the window, big smile on their face. I smile and wave back, hiding the tears that threaten to fall. It’s been months since my ex chose to actually use their visitation rights, but for some reason they’ve shown up this time. As the car disappears down the street, silence settles around me, and with it comes worry. Our children’s experiences at school and with their friends My child is no…

Nativity – The Light in the Darkness

Fear of the Dark When I was young, my family took a trip to New Mexico. While there, we toured Carlsbad Caverns. One of the things I remember most about that tour was when the park ranger turned off the lights. There we stood, darkness all around us. In hindsight, the lights were not off for all that long, but it was the first time I had experienced true darkness. No streetlights or moon and stars to give a faint glow. Only emptiness, silence, and the feeling of darkness becoming palpable, real, an entity to itself. I remember thinking that…

Advent – Thoughts on Waiting

Time expands to an infinite stillness, years seeming to pass between each second. How often have we experienced time like this? How often does anticipation of something wonderful make it seem like time will never let it happen? I know I felt this way about the birth of my son. As time drew closer for his birth, it seemed like he would never arrive. Finally it was time. We drove to the hospital and checked in. We got to our room, fully expecting that labor would begin soon. And nothing. Nothing at all. Time slowed to a crawl. The sun…